Want to reduce your living costs, or put a little extra away to combat rising inflation? Check out our tips for freeing up cash and maximising your savings. Your dreams could be just around the corner – make sure your money is too!
Before we get down into the nitty gritty of building a more savings-focused life, you need to understand your expenses. Set aside time to go through your bank statements and categorise your expenses across a normal year.
Use our budget planner to record your spending across various categories against your income, then divide by 12 to get your average monthly living expenses. What remains is what you’re currently able to save if your spending habits remain the same.
Some questions for you to consider:
Are there obvious areas where you can reduce your spending?
Based on your current spending and saving habits, how much could you save in six months, a year or two years?
Write down your savings goals and when you want to reach them. How much would you need to save each fortnight or month to reach your goals?
If you’re on track to reach your goals, keep up the good work!
If your savings goals are greater than your current saving ability, it’s time to make some changes to your income or your spending. Alternatively, you might need to focus on a one or two goals at a time, or give yourself more time to save.
Save for an emergency
Your very first savings goal should be to build an ‘emergency fund’ – a dedicated chunk of savings for the unexpected.
Aim to save enough to cover three months of expenses, then six months if you can. With that money squirreled away you’ll be well placed to face whatever life has to throw at you, without relying on credit cards or loans.
3. Boost your savings with interest
Now that you know where you are and where you’re heading, it’s time to think about where you’re putting your hard-earned cash.
Getting serious about saving means putting aside the old piggy bank. Instead, find yourself a high interest savings account so you can keep your cash safe, and help it grow over time.
Try to find an account where the interest rate is roughly in line with inflation to make sure your savings can keep up with the real world.
Look for the highest interest rate you can to make sure your money is working as hard as you are – and try to match inflation if you can.
Some accounts will offer higher interest rates if you meet criteria like no withdrawals or regular deposits – snag one if you can.
Lots of savings accounts have a minimum amount that needs to be deposited each month, so make sure you’ll be able to meet it.
Fees & charges
Avoid accounts that charge fees that would eat into your savings over time – there are now plenty of fee-free options out there.
Some accounts limit your ability to withdraw cash – which can be good or bad, depending on your situation and savings strategy.
Features like automatic transfers, linked accounts and mobile banking will make it easier to grow and track your savings over time.
4. Choose an account to grow your savings
As you can see, no matter what stage of life you’re at, getting serious about saving means putting aside the old piggy bank.
Once you’ve got a sense of the features you’re looking for in a savings account, get out there and find your perfect match!
5. Consider a term deposit
If you’ve got a decent chunk of change sitting in your savings, it might be worth thinking about a term deposit.
A term deposit is somewhere between a savings account and an investment: you agree to store your money with a bank for a certain amount of time, in exchange for a fixed interest rate.
This option can give you more certainty about the interest you’ll earn – a big help when it comes to budgeting. And while they do limit your ability to access funds, this can be a good choice for some savers, making it much harder to dip into savings when temptations arise – we’re looking at you, online shopping.
No matter where you are in life, your finances play an important role.
That’s why we’ve partnered with Bridges – one of Australia’s largest financial planning organisations – to make sure you have the help you need to achieve your financial goals.
Working together we’ll help you understand your finances and develop a strategy that works for you. After all, who doesn’t want some expert help every now and then?
Get the ball rolling. Call us on 1300 004 863 for a free initial appointment.
8. Make debt work for you
Debt can be a dirty word when it comes to savings, but it’s still important to consider.
When starting out, try to get rid of as much debt as you can – the more repayments you have to make, and interest you accrue, the more you could be eating into potential savings.
That said, if you’re careful, debt can also help you meet your goals. Using a credit card can allow you to make larger purchases without dipping into your savings. And if you’ve got a more urgent goal in mind, a personal loan could help you get there. Just remember that any debt you take on now will eat into your savings later on.
Saving up for the next big thing can feel like an impossible goal. And if it does, you may find it hard to stay motivated. That’s why it’s important to build happiness into your budget, and take the time to celebrate along the way.
Plus, being able to save a decent chunk of change is no small feat – your hard work deserves to be recognised!
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Set progress goals
You don’t have to wait until the end to celebrate.
Setting smaller goals along the way can help keep you motivated and make saving feel like less of a burden.
Track your progress
Don’t just set and forget – check in on your savings every once in a while.
There’s nothing better than seeing that number tick up towards your goal.
Share your wins
Celebrating your latest saving milestone with friends and family can make the experience that much more rewarding.
It’ll also help keep you accountable along the way!
Different strokes for different folks
It doesn’t matter who you are, what your savings goals are, or what stage of life you’re in. We’ll help you save bigger and earn better so you can reach your dreams – whatever they may be.
Unapproved debit balances incur interest at 15.90% p.a. calculated daily on full closing balance and debited on the last calendar day of each month.
* Interest is calculated daily and paid monthly.
** Interest is calculated daily and paid monthly. Bonus interest is calculated daily and paid monthly provided that $10 or more was deposited and no withdrawals were made in the month. Deposits must be made by 5pm on the last day of the month to earn bonus interest.
*** Interest is calculated daily and paid on maturity.